When it comes to cybersecurity in today’s world, the question businesses are asking is no longer “Will our IT system be attacked?” but rather “When will our IT system be attacked?” With the imminent threat of cyber attacks on individuals and companies of all sizes, it’s crucial to have a plan in place in the event of a breach. To help prepare yourself and your company, we’ve laid out a few examples of where threats lie and a few best practices for defence.
• It’s reported that 44 per cent of companies estimate that they could lose just over $10,000 within just one hour of downtime.
Before you can decide how to best prepare and protect yourself, you need to first understand your current situation. That can be achieved by asking yourself a few key questions.
• What and where are the breach points within your company?
• What are your current cybersecurity policies?
• What is the company’s level of readiness for a cyber attack?
Answering those few questions at an average of once per quarter can help keep you alert and agile in order to best prepare for the ever-evolving forms of attack.
Recognize internal threats
Whether intentional or not, internal threats are real and worthy of attention. While many companies focus entirely on outside attacks, there’s a good chance your biggest threat is sitting in the office next to you. Insider threats can unfold by accident or through malicious efforts; either way, it’s important to take precautionary actions.
According to the 2018 Insider Threat Report, 51 per cent of companies are worried about
accidental or unintentional data breaches through user carelessness, negligence or
compromised credentials. In order to avoid these unfortunate occurrences, it’s important to review and adjust your employee policies as necessary. Limiting access to sensitive information on a need-to-know basis and logging any activity done on company devices as well as backing up information regularly are recommended practices. Finally, to alert employees to the potential threat they pose, providing educational resources on safe email and internet practices can help prevent individuals from unintentionally falling victim to a phishing or malware attack.
Preventing malicious insider threats requires performing many of the same actions as unintentional ones. Sharing access to information on a need-to-know basis and adjusting that access as necessary as well as tracking those actions is crucial. Should an employee be moved off an assignment or a project end, reverting the originally granted access can prevent damage in the long run. Closely monitoring employee actions can also help prevent and detect possible threats. With the increasing volume of insider attacks, 94 per cent of companies monitor their technology users’ behaviour with tools such as User Behavior Analytics to help detect, classify and warn of anomalous behaviour.
Inform and educate
Former Intel CEO Andrew Grove once stated, “Only the paranoid survive.” This isn’t to say you should scare your employees into paranoia, but it’s critical to make them fully aware of potential risks. Education and training sessions on topics such as the main types of cyber attacks, red flags to look out for and post-attack plans can help everyone feel more prepared. Here are a few recommended practices for educating your team.
• Fully explain the potential impact that a cyber attack could have on your company and the consequences that could result from careless behaviour. Leaving a company laptop unattended in a public location, revealing personal information over an open WiFi network and other common habits are all potential risks.
• Hold everyone responsible for the company’s cybersecurity. Hackers don’t discriminate between IT personnel and others, so everyone needs to be conscious of their actions.
• Implement internet safety rules for company devices such as encouraging password regulations and caution when opening emails or attachments from unknown addresses.
• Train employees to recognize signs of a cyber attack and communicate a clear response plan.
Adapt with the times
As security measures improve, unfortunately so do hacking abilities. New strains of hacking methods crop up on nearly a daily basis, making it imperative for organizations to anticipate and prevent attacks before they’re even developed. By being proactive in creating and implementing cybersecurity plans, organizations can position themselves a step ahead of potential hackers.
Test your strength
The only way to know if you’re truly prepared for a cyber attack is to see how your defence plan stands up against an attack. To test your strength, simulating a breach and playing out your post-attack plan can help determine any weak points and get employees acclimated to their position in the plan. Password strength tests are also a good idea for employees to utilize, especially if they regularly update their passwords.
As our society becomes increasingly reliant on technology, the threat of cyber attacks will continue to rise and spread. Proper preparation is the best defence and we hope these tips assist you in achieving just that.
Guess Contributor: Maddie David
Maddie Davis is co-founder of Enlightened Digital and web designer from the Big Apple. She lives by running marathons and reading anything and everything on the NYT Best Sellers list.
Sometimes, good employees leave. It’s a normal part of running a business, and usually, it’s for the best. People you respect leave on good terms and head for greener pastures, while you replace them with new and enthusiastic staff members.
But when staff are leaving en masse, employers need to look inwards to realise there may be an internal problem. High staff turnover is often a symptom of deeper issues within your company, whether it’s outdated management practices or a toxic work culture.
Gemma Harding, Head of Client Services at call outsourcing solutions provider CALLCARE, says that addressing high staff turnover should be a top priority for any employer. “If staff are leaving left, right and centre, it won’t be long before your business faces critical issues to do with cash flow and resource.
“It’s imperative that business leaders get to the heart of the problem as soon as possible to minimise the damage and build a better, happier work environment for their future team.”
How much does high staff turnover cost UK businesses?
Loss of productivity — It’s unlikely that you’ll fill a role immediately, so there’s usually a period when a lot of tasks just can’t get done because there’s not enough available resource. Even if you have staff on long notice periods, they’ll naturally begin to switch off as their leaving date approaches.
Training time — Even the best hires won’t be at max capacity from day one. It can take weeks of training and onboarding until your new hire is working to the same level as their predecessor. In specialist roles, there may be the added cost of legally required third-party training.
Recruitment fees — Hiring takes a lot of time. If you don’t have a big HR team, you’ll likely need to work with a recruitment agency to fill your vacant roles with the right people. Those commission fees can quickly add up, especially if you need to recruit for senior roles.
Cost of new equipment — In many industries, your new staff will need dedicated computers, uniforms and specialist gear before they can do their job.
The domino effect — Perhaps most costly of all is the effect that a departure can have on your other employees. In the gap between someone leaving and someone else starting, some team members will need to pick up the slack. When that’s added to an already overwhelming workload, it can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, leading to a slippery slope of notice letters.
The key problems that lead to high staff turnover (and how to solve them)
If you want to reduce your staff turnover, you first need to identify the root issues that are contributing to it.
Below, we’ve outlined 5 of the most common problems businesses suffer from that can lead to high staff turnover, along with the best strategies to resolve them.
1. Your staff are overworked
When it feels like there’s too much work that will never get finished, it’s difficult to find any mental downtime even outside of work.
Naturally, it’s instinctive to want to remove ourselves from the stressful situation, which is why complaints of being overworked are one of the key causes of high staff turnover.
Solution: Redistribute and outsource
If your team is stretched, work out who is in the most danger of burnout by assessing their workloads. If one person is at more risk than the others, redistribute that work by giving a couple of their less important tasks to other employees. Alternatively, you could outsource work temporarily until you can make a new hire.
2. There are no progression opportunities
Not every role will have a clear progression path, but without clarity on what to strive for, employees become disheartened and start seeing their job as a dead-end. They’ll start looking elsewhere for some variety; they’ll want to broaden their skillset.
Solution: Swap the ladder for a lattice
Instead of focusing on moving employees upwards, consider how they can move outwards. Invest time into creating personalised progression plans based on the new skills they want to learn (maybe from departments outside their own) and check in regularly with them to see how you can help them achieve those goals.
3. They want a better salary
Once an employee gets offered a better salary in another role, it’s tricky to coax them back without things getting very expensive indeed. Even in today’s benefits-focused work culture, salary is still the elephant in the room.
Solution: Be transparent about salary increases
One reason many people accept jobs for better pay elsewhere is that they don’t expect it to increase in their current role. Set objectives tied to salary increases to make visible to staff when their next pay rise is due and what they need to do to achieve it.
4. They don’t fit the culture
If staff don’t share the same values as the business they work for, there will always be conflict, no matter how many salary increases and benefits come their way. Bad culture fits are usually the result of unscrupulous hiring and can cost you business significantly even before that employee decides to leave.
Solution: Revise your interviewing process
Define what your business values are and incorporate them into your interview process. Write up some questions that can address culture-fit problems you’ve experienced with hires in the past; leave them open-ended to get a better feel of what your candidate really thinks. You should also introduce them to the wider team so you can talk about first impressions with someone else that you trust.
This way, you can detect the warning signs before your new employee starts.
5. Staff don’t get enough feedback
If your team members aren’t receiving regular feedback on their performance, they can start to feel ignored, or that the work they do isn’t valued. This can cause a disconnect between them and your business, meaning they’ll seek out somewhere that they believe will give them more recognition.
Solution: Public praise and private critiques
If someone has done something great, tell the world about it. Make time in the week for managers to give shout-outs to their team for their achievements in front of the whole company, whether that’s on a Monday or a Friday afternoon. When you need to provide some constructive feedback, do so privately and in person. This shows that you are genuinely trying to help them improve rather than air grievances, and they’ll appreciate having clarity on what to develop on.
Happy staff, healthy business
Retaining your staff doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Sometimes, all it takes is a little more time focused on their wellbeing to nip small issues in the bud before they become big ones and save your company thousands every year.
With the UK boasting more than 6,200 contact centres nationwide, over 4% of the population is currently employed in call centres.
That’s because more and more companies, large and small, are seeing the benefits of outsourcing their enquiries to a contact centre. Whether it’s inbound queries or outbound sales calls, call centres are a way for businesses to streamline the huge numbers of calls they make and receive.
But what’s it like to work in a call centre?
We’ve created a thorough guide of the ins and outs of what a career in a call centre is really like.
What’s work-life like in a call centre?
There are fundamentally two types of call centre jobs depending on the service of the company – inbound and outbound.
Inbound calls — Inbound calls span a vast range of industries, where you could find yourself working anywhere from an electronics manufacturer to a bank. Depending on the services each company provides, you could find yourself setting up accounts, chasing down information or providing assistance regarding a product. Whatever it may be, the crux of the matter is that inbound calls ultimately deal with customer queries.
Outbound calls — On the other end of the scale, outbound calls will involve actively reaching out to existing and potential customers. This may be for lead generation, to follow up on a service or to provide a customer with information, but, will predominantly involve sales.
Like any customer-facing job role, call centres are very engaging, social environments. So, if you’re the type of person who likes to keep busy or becomes bored easily at work, this is a great way to stay focused throughout the workday. Plus, if you love engaging with different kind of people, in a customer- facing role, then you’ll feel right at home.
What are the career prospects in a call centre?
Good starting salary – Believe it or not, call centres traditionally offer higher basic pay for entry-level positions than other sectors. This makes them a great choice for younger workers who can quickly learn new skills and make a good wage doing it!
Quick progression – There are also plenty of opportunities to climb the corporate ladder. Promotions can come quickly if you’re willing to get your head down and produce good results. Many senior positions are filled in-house, which means you could be leading a team or training new employees in as little as six months.
Future prospects – Experience in call centres can also help your CV stand out when applying for other jobs. Recruiters know that contact centres require hard work and dedication, which are brilliant transferrable skills to many other work sectors.
What are the challenges of a call centre job?
Staying professional – Much like hospitality, you’ll be the face (or voice) of the companies that your call centre represents. You’ll be dealing with customers all day long and as such, you’ll need to present yourself in the best light. This can be difficult if you’re dealing with frustrated customers, but these situations will help you develop your communication skills and equip you for a good career ahead.
Sticking to targets – Most call centres work to targets, so you’ll need to find a way to manage your time wisely. If you’re not used to working in fast-paced environments, you may struggle to keep up, but on the plus side, you’ll be in a great position to progress if you’re constantly hitting your goals. Targets aren’t necessarily a negative, as there will often be rewards for going above and beyond.
What are the benefits of working in a call centre?
We’ve already outlined the financial gains of call centre work. But here’s the best bit: that you don’t even need any experience to get started!
No experience required – It’s very rare for a contact centre to request previous experience as most will provide full training from day one. Although past experiences in a call centre, or other customer service position would be desirable, recruiters are more interested in good communication skills and computer knowledge.
Good work-life balance – As the nature of calls being made and received differs from business to business, some call centres will stay open 24/7. This gives you more freedom to choose the type of hours you’d like to work. Want to stick to a 9-5? Easy. Fancy working weekends to free up your weekdays? No problem. Plus, unlike other careers, you’ll never need to take your work home with you after hours. This means you can keep your personal and professional lives completely separate.
If you think a career in a contact centre is the right path for you, head over to our careers page and submit a CV to join the CALLCARE team.
Thanks to today’s ‘always on’ work culture, “burnout” is a word that more and more managers are getting used to hearing. Employees around the UK are finding it difficult to cope with the stress or workload that awaits them in the office each morning — and often follows them home.
In fact, employee burnout has reached epidemic proportions over the past few years. There are now half a million people in the UK who suffer exhaustion from work-related stress, and if anything, that figure is growing.
The good news is that as a manager, you have the power to protect your workers from burnout. Gemma Harding from CALLCARE emphasises how important it is for a manager to help mitigate their team’s stress levels: “Though it might feel necessary to keep pushing your team to keep productivity high in the short term, it can be incredibly damaging further down the line. Even the most enthusiastic employees will feel resentment towards their job if they’re overworked and under-rested, which can lead to mistakes, resignations and even long-term effects on their mental health.”
We’ve identified 5 key things you can do to ensure your team are happy, healthy and productive.
Why? Many workers said that they didn’t take holidays or worked while on leave because they were scared of falling behind.
Annual leave is important because it helps staff to fully recharge away from the workplace. It’s also an opportunity for workers to rebuild those family relationships to prevent further stress that comes with strained relationships.
Encourage your team to use all of their holidays. Make the effort to find out who fails to take their annual leave and talk about how you can support them before they leave and after they return.
You can even help them plan when might be best to take holiday so they don’t feel it’ll have such a significant impact on their workload.
However, the sad fact is sick days are down because more of us are coming to work ill. Today, 70% of workers come to work while sick due to social pressure to do so. When surveyed, 40% of people said they came to work rather than take a sick day because, again, they were worried about their workload piling up.
If you want to prevent burnout in your office, be firm on sending people home if they’re ill. Not only does coming to work sick delay the time it takes you to get back to full strength but it also spreads the virus so the rest of the team end up doing the same. That’s a huge impact on staff productivity and it exhausts everyone in the process.
What’s the cause of our sleeplessness? Well, those out-of-hours emails certainly don’t help. In a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, 40% of respondents said they check email 5 times a day outside of regular office hours, and 17% said that emails make them so anxious that it impacts their sleep.
Keep your staff accountable for their email-checking habits. If a member of your team is regularly sending work emails in the evening or at the weekend, ask them to avoid doing when it isn’t urgent. Let them know that time outside of work is for them to recharge and escape the stress of the workplace, rather than to get ahead.
4. Manage that frightening workload
Taking holidays, avoiding emails and resting up when you’re sick all make sense in an ideal world, but there’s one common reason why so many of us fail to actually put it into practice: a mountainous workload.
When there ‘aren’t enough hours in the week’, your team are more likely to dig into their own time to keep up — or risk falling behind. That’s why it’s your responsibility to manage the incoming workload well.
Start by splitting tasks into four categories:
Eliminate — If there are any tasks which don’t provide enough value to warrant the time spent doing them, there’s a simple solution: get rid of them altogether.
Automate — Any tasks that are necessary but repetitive can probably be automated. For example, there may be software that can produce those weekly reports for you to give your team a few hours back.
Delegate — Maybe there are tasks that need to be done but not necessarily by your team. Create a list of tasks that can be delegated, either to another team or less busy members of your own.
Simplify — Some tasks are important and too complex to automate or pass on to someone else. In these cases, simplify the task. Divide it into digestible sub-tasks, and of those sub-tasks, identify which ones could be eliminated, automated or delegated.
5. Set the example from the top
Perhaps the most important thing you need to do as a manager is to start by working on yourself. As a manager, it can feel like you need to take on more than your team do, but that creates a perpetual problem since your team are likely to follow your example.
Instead, be strong enough to implement all of the above in your own life before trying to get your team onboard. For starters, take a holiday. If you’re ill, don’t power through — let your team know you’re taking the day to rest up. Stop sending emails out of hours because your team will feel pressured to respond.
And finally, make sure you’re managing your own workload properly so that you have enough free time to reinvest into your team. That way, you show that you prioritise their wellbeing (and your own) over the work itself. If you’re healthy and happy and your team are too, the work will always be of a higher standard.
The pursuit of the proverbial ‘dream job’ can take us to many exciting places. Occasionally, that journey takes you to a role that, well, you just don’t love.
But it’s easy to jump the gun when you’re unhappy in your current role. Often, a little patience can make all the difference — but how can you know for sure?
At CALLCARE, we put together this useful flowchart to help you determine whether it’s really time to throw in the towel or whether there’s still life in your job yet.
Is it just me?
When you’re unhappy in your role, you need to determine whether it’s the role itself, the company culture, the people you work with or even your personal outlook on things.
Below, we’ve outlined some key warning signs to look out for — and what you can do to determine whether or not it’s time to move on.
1. “I’m not learning anything”
Our brains crave novelty. We’re always looking for something new, which is why you might find yourself looking at other roles even if you once enjoyed your current job.
If you’re not learning anything at work and hit a plateau in your job, you’ll only get more and more disengaged until it’s noticeable in your output. If you reach that point, leaving might not be your decision anymore.
However, if there are opportunities to learn something new at your current job that you’re not taking, ask yourself: why not?
Often, it can seem like extra work, or the lack of certainty around what to do can put us off. But you should trust that, though it’ll require a little more effort, the novelty of learning a new skill will energise you and reignite the passion you once felt.
2. “Work is making me ill”
Do you take a lot of sick days? Work could be making you stressed.
When you’re in situations of constant stress — maybe you’re overworked or you have to navigate a tricky relationship with your boss — you’re more prone to getting sick. That’s because your body focuses all of its energy on providing adrenaline for your ‘fight or flight’ reflex, and it has to suppress your immune system to do so.
Before you quit due to health reasons, ask yourself: when was the last time you took a holiday? Removing yourself from your work environment for a week or two gives your body enough time to recover from all the stress that’s piled up over the months and months you’ve clocked in every day. When you return, you’ll feel refreshed. You might find that the things that stressed you out don’t worry you as much, as you’ll be in a better head space to deal with them.
Oh, and don’t forget to exercise! It reduces stress and helps you focus, so you’re less likely to get behind on work. That means fewer high-stress appraisals for you to endure.
3. “My boss doesn’t care about me”
It can be disheartening if it feels like your boss doesn’t care whether or not you’re happy at work. A good manager needs to take the time to check in with their team and find out what they can do to improve things for them in the office, whether that’s by reducing the workload or finding opportunities for them to grow.
If this type of support isn’t available to you, then it might be time to find a company with values that match your own.
However, you shouldn’t leave without addressing these concerns with your boss first. It might come as a surprise to them; if you’re naturally quiet, they might have believed you were quite content. Be clear with them about what you want. You might find that they’re more than willing to give it to you: all you had to do was ask.
4. “I don’t get paid enough”
While some people live to work, the majority of us work to live. While job satisfaction is a big deal, our main motivation is earning money to support ourselves and our families. So if your current job doesn’t provide the salary you think you deserve, it might be time to search elsewhere.
However, if you’re leaving primarily because of pay, explain your concerns to your employer before you make any firm decisions. If you’re a good worker, you’ll probably find that they’re more than willing to negotiate a salary that better reflects the quality of your work.
Even if their offer can’t meet the sum you’ll get elsewhere, you may still be better off when you consider the impact a new job might have on your commute or how much annual leave you get. At the very least, make sure you have that conversation.
5. “No one else likes it here, either”
Even the most motivated employee can be worn down by a toxic work environment. If tensions are high and staff satisfaction is low, it might be best to start looking for a workplace that’s going to energise rather than drain you.
Be aware that it’s easy to project negativity outwardly when we feel it ourselves. Think about the people you’re talking to at work. Are they negative about work and influencing your perception? Or are there individuals who impact team morale and cause disruption and upset?
Try to identify the cause or source of the negativity, and if possible, speak to your manager about it. They could be unaware of the unrest and find a way to resolve it.
When morale is low, it spreads like wildfire. Bringing a team back together is one of the best ways to get the positivity and good vibes back on track.
Should I stay or should I go?
There always comes a time when you need to move on, and often, it marks the beginning of a bright new season in your career. If the time is right, make sure you leave on good terms — no matter how ready you are to leave, you should always keep things professional.
That way, you’ll have a positive reputation that precedes you wherever you go.
With up to 8 million people in the UK employed as lone workers, it’s likely that you know or employ a good number of them.
What may be less clear is how you can define a lone worker and what responsibilities you might for them. In this post, we’ll look at the steps an employer should take when hiring lone workers to ensure they’re covered against any legal action.
What is a lone worker?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines lone workers as those who work by themselves without any direct supervision.
However, you’d be mistaken in thinking that lone workers are only those who work in isolation. The majority of lone workers are not physically alone all the time: many of them work with the general public or in a larger team but the nature of their job means they have to work without direct supervision from time to time.
Still, these workers need to be protected — and the onus is on the employer to ensure their safety at all times.
What types of jobs involve lone working?
There are a wide variety of occupations that involve lone working, even within big organisations. We’ve put together a list of examples that you can refer to:
Type of lone worker
Cleaners, security, maintenance and repair staff, virtual receptionists
Fixed establishments where there is only one member of staff
Petrol stations, kiosks, home workers
People working separately from others in the same fixed establishment
Postal staff, social workers, probation officers
Workers whose occupation involves a lot of lone travel
Yes, it is legal, as long as employers take the right safety precautions first. What do businesses need to do when they have lone workers?
Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires the employer to undertake a risk assessment. The law requires employers to carefully consider any health and safety risks a lone worker might face in any environment and take action to combat them. They should then implement a lone worker policy, which should be communicated regularly to all staff.
Employers aren’t just responsible for the health and safety of their own workers: they’re also responsible for the safety of contractors and self-employed staff that they hire, too.
What hazards might a lone worker be exposed to?
While some hazards can be seen, others are not so obvious. Here are some risks a lone worker could be exposed to at any time:
Work-related accidents (e.g. injuries when working with machinery)
Sudden illness (e.g. loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest)
Violence from clients or members of the public (e.g. social work, security)
Environmental accidents (e.g. slips, falls)
Lack of sleep leading to an increased risk of harm to workers and others (e.g. drivers staying on the road too long)
What steps do employers need to take to protect lone workers?
Here are some key steps that an employer should take to stay compliant with existing health and safety legislation:
Carry out a full risk assessment — Assess the environment and the role to determine the correct level of supervision. If your workers will be working in confined spaces, near live electricity conductors or with clients who could become violent, they probably need at least one other person present.
Supply the best work equipment — Ensure that lone workers have all the equipment they need to carry out their job safely. For example, maintenance workers may need voltage-insulated gloves and shoes in case they need to carry out electrical work.
Provide proper training — Educate employees about the risks of lone working, their rights when working alone, and measures they can take to keep themselves safe.
Monitor lone workers remotely — Find a personal protection service that allows you to get real-time updates on your employee’s status.
How to carry out a risk assessment for a lone worker
Check whether the workplace requires equipment that it would be difficult for one person to control, such as ladders or pulleys.
Check that the worker can safely access their place of work without risk of being locked in or out.
Ensure that any machinery being used can be safely operated by one person.
Determine whether chemicals or hazardous substances that pose a risk to a lone worker will be required.
Determine whether the work involves lifting objects too heavy for one person to carry safely.
Identify whether there is any risk of violence posed by members of the public.
Consider whether the lone worker is at more risk than the average person (e.g. if they’re particularly young, elderly, or whether they have any pre-existing conditions that require close attention).
Ensure communication can be clearly maintained with the worker if English is not their first language.
What can lone workers do to keep safe?
With the proper training, you can ensure lone workers keep themselves as safe as possible while working by avoiding the risks you’ve identified with them.
What’s most important is that they know where to draw the line between a safe activity and a risky one. Employers should set the limits for employees before they go to work and keep in touch with their staff at regular intervals to ensure those limits are being adhered to.
How can workers be supervised when they’re alone?
No matter how many precautions you and your workers take, accidents can still happen. That’s why it’s crucial that you have a remote lone worker solution that allows you to respond rapidly should anything happen.
At CALLCARE, we solve this problem with our lone worker protection helplines. We have a dedicated team who keep in touch with your remote employees at regular intervals to ensure they’re safe. If there are any problems, our team can respond immediately with the appropriate action, whether that’s contacting a supervisor or calling the emergency services.
Make your to-do list more manageable and easily approachable by organising your tasks into different categories. This will help you organise your thoughts and give you mental clarity at the start of each day. These different categories can have different action points under them that will be ticked off as you work your way through your to-do list. If you want to go a step further, separate different tasks into subsections of smaller lists within larger lists of what needs to be done. For example, if attending a meeting is under the category ” internal business communications,” have bullet points under that with what needs to be said, acted upon, and agreed during that meeting.
2. Gather similar tasks together
If your working schedule consists of different kinds of projects that require different thought processes and techniques, you can make your life easier by grouping similar tasks together. If you identify your tasks in this way, it’ll be far easier to visually see which tasks are more challenging than others an how many of each kind of task you have. Then, you can get through action points that are easier to complete when you’re taking breaks between larger projects, or at the end of the day when you’re counting the minutes before leaving.
3. Identify the urgency & size of your tasks
You should always be aware of the urgency and the scale of your tasks when you’re drafting a to-do list. If tasks are both serious and urgent, then I’d suggest you add them at the top of your list for the next few days, to ensure that they get completed before their deadline. Similarly, if you’re working on a relatively large project that requires your utmost levels of concentration, then work on it first thing in the morning when you’re more likely to be productive. Alternatively, if you have other productivity spikes throughout the day, make sure to utilise them in the best way possible when dealing with time-sensitive and/or large tasks.
4. Use online planning apps
As satisfying as it is to write a to-do list at the start of each day and to physically tick off tasks along the way, online project management is perfect for visually seeing your tasks and for larger projects that require the contribution of others. One of my favourite websites for tracking my workload online is Trello, which has features that allow you to share project tracking templates amongst colleagues as well. This helps you delegate tasks amongst your team and tag people in action points for when there’s a shared responsibility.
Additionally, online project tracking apps are helpful for keeping yourself accountable to yourself, your team, and your line manager. It visually displays tasks into categories that you’ve created: such as ‘to do,’ ‘in the process,’ ‘waiting for feedback,’ and ‘completed.’
5. Manage your larger projects
Instead of having a large project looking over your whole day, worrying that you might not complete it all- create a different section in your diary for ‘larger/ongoing projects.’ This could either be a section under each day, where you re-write the same task and tick it off so long as you’ve worked on it, or you could have a project column at the start of each week and month. This way, you won’t feel that you’ve failed to complete everything on the day, despite having worked on a project that needs another week to be completed.
6. Be realistic when writing a list
Don’t make a list with 10 tasks that you know you can’t realistically complete in a day. This could have a negative effect of discouraging you from making lists in the future or ‘keeping at it’ because you might worry that you’ll fail to accomplish your future daily tasks.
7. Plan for when things don’t plan out well
If you haven’t completed your list, don’t stress about it, just be prepared for when this happens. Sometimes, other things get in the way of finishing all your tasks on time. By planning alternative solutions – you’ll stay organised and motivated without being upset or frustrated. Make sure you pass tasks onto another day, or the next working day so you know that all your to-do list points will be managed.
8. Don’t stress if your list isn’t completed
It’s okay. There are only so many hours in a day that you could have spent on your tasks and if you haven’t managed completing them, just add a little arrow next to them so you can complete them in the future. I’ve found that it’s best to stay away from crossing things off, or adding an ‘x’ next to tasks, as It could make your list appear negative by the end of the day. Then again, if you’re not that affected by the psychological effects of not completing your tasks, then continue doing what works best for you.
Getting into a routine is easier said than done, so the following 5 habits can assist you to ‘get on track’ with your goals and stay on track. Whether your goals are career driven or related to your health and personal life, it’s all about adapting your lifestyle and daily practices. I’ve tried to ‘hack’ the productivity cycle into 5 key habits that I’ve listed below.
These habits shouldn’t be something you do, but a new lifestyle that you embody. Don’t be looking for a quick fix to boost your productivity, as it’s a long-term process that will shift your habits and mindset. In the same way that crash diets don’t work in the long run, neither will an ‘overnight’ solution. Your mental habits can quite literally define how successfully you execute your business plans and personal goals.
Remember, it doesn’t matter if you stumble every now and then. Not following your new habits for a day, won’t completely ruin your progress if you stick to them for the days that follow. Whilst we’re at it- make a habit out of not breaking your habits after one bad day.